Senior advocate Jayant Das on Monday took charge as the new president of Odisha High Court Bar Association, elections for which were held on Sunday. In the annual elections for the coveted post of the prestigious bar of the State, Das, in a direct contest defeated another senior advocate and former bar Council of India Chairman Jagannath Patnaik by 54 votes. While Das polled 1,631 votes, Patnaik managed to garner only 877 members of the bar in his favour.

Similarly, another affable and young lawyer Piyush Mishra was elected new general secretary of the bar when he defeated his nearest rival Janmejaya Katakia in a three-corner contest.

Among others, Amiya Kumar Mohanty was elected vice-president, Maitrajit Mohanty as joint secretary, Karunakar Das as assistant secretary, and Manoranjan Mohapatra was elected assistant secretary (library) in a keenly-contested elections.

Out of over 6,000 advocates practising in the High Court, a little over 4,000 are valid members of the bar. But only 2,526 lawyers turned up to exercise their franchise in the elections which were held on a holiday. Immediately after assuming charge as the new general secretary, Mr Mishra said the new executive of the bar would focus on establishing a healthy bench-bar relationship. “We would also work towards ensuring that the strength of judges in the High Court is enhanced in order to dispose of the pending cases which are mounting in leaps and bound,” Mishra said.

The lawyers also elected a nine-member executive. The elected executives are Prakash Kumar Choudhury, Mamata Manjari Rout, Tapan Kumar Acharya, Biswanath Das, Chitta Ranjan Kar, Manorama Mohanty, Tarun Pati, Pradeepta Kumar Behera, and Amulya Kumar Naik.